Tampa First Responder Lawyer
First responders are people who are trained to act in an emergency, but that does not mean they are invincible. They witness traumatic events regularly, and at times put their own lives in jeopardy to maintain safety in a community. In return, first responders deserve to be taken care of if they become injured on the job. If you work for or are engaged by the state of Florida or the local Tampa government and have been harmed in the course of your duty as a first responder, then it is important you file a claim to seek medical and lost wage benefits. A qualified Tampa first responder lawyer at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian can help you through the legal process.
Who is a First Responder?
First responders for the government include:
- Police officer;
- EMT or paramedic; and
- Volunteer in any of the above positions.
What Injuries are Covered for First Responders
As with any workers’ compensation, first responders are covered for injuries they receive while working. What sets first responders apart is the new Florida legislation that passed in October 2018 that covers first responders for incidences of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to a news release by Governor DeSantis’ office, it is estimated that 30 percent of first responders are managing symptoms of depression, PTSD, substance abuse disorder, suicidal ideations, or suicide attempts. These rates are significantly higher than the general public and can be attributed to the stressful situations that these first responders walk into regularly as part of their job. Florida Statute 112.1815 is meant to offer additional support to those who serve our community by offering PTSD medical benefits for the following events experienced on the job:
- Witness a deceased minor;
- Witness, treat, or transport a minor who subsequently dies prior to or upon arrival to the emergency department;
- Seeing a death that involved grievous bodily harm of a nature that “shocks the conscience;”
- Witness, treat, or transport an adult who dies prior to or upon arrival to the emergency department who sustained grievous bodily harm of the nature that “shocks the conscience;”’ and
- Witnessing a homicide.
Filing a Claim
First responders have 52 weeks to file a claim for PTSD, but as with any workers’ compensation claim, you should report it to your employer as soon as you become aware of the issue. Your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company will provide you with a licensed psychiatrist that they authorize you to see for a diagnosis. From that diagnosis, they will determine what medical benefits and what indemnity benefits (lost wages) you will be eligible for.
Contact Our Tampa First Responder Lawyers Today
The Tampa attorneys at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian commend all first responders for their heroic work on the job. If you have experienced PTSD, let us step in and help you with the legal process of filing a worker compensation claim. We will look out for your best interests so you can focus your attention on your health. Call us at 813-279-2686 to schedule a free consultation.